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Wagering on the Flemington carnival increased this year on the back of record turnover on the Melbourne Cup.

Australians bet $221.6 million on the famous race, up more than 17 per cent on 2019 figures.

A total of $667.3 million was invested over the four days of the Melbourne Cup carnival, an increase of 6 per cent on last year despite the TAB system outage that impacted the final meeting.

Racing Victoria figures show many punters turned to corporate bookmakers when the TAB crashed, with the corporates providing 87 per cent of money wagered on Mackinnon Stakes day.

However, it was still a costly blow to the industry with Racing Victoria figures showing overall turnover on the day was down by $24 million on the previous year.

RV chief executive Giles Thompson said the overall financial impact of the TAB issue was even greater.

“The estimated impact of that incident on the thoroughbred industry’s bottom line will be in excess of $2 million,” Thompson said.

In spite of the TAB.com.au debacle, the Cup carnival was deemed a success, particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic which prevented the usual throng of spectators from being on track at Flemington.

Newly anointed Victoria Racing Club chief executive Steve Rosich said the industry did a great job to maintain public engagement.

“Against the backdrop of an incredibly challenging year for all, the VRC focused on providing an at-home experience that matched the excitement of being on course for our members and all racing fans, which has driven the growth in engagement, particularly across digital streams, and subsequent increase in wagering,” Rosich said.

The market has opened for the 2021 Melbourne Cup with Tiger Moth the $16 favourite.

 
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